The harmful effects of the western extension of the congestion charging zone were seen at first hand by Caroline Pidgeon, the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Transport Spokesperson, on her recent visit to the Portobello area. The fact-finding visit was organised by local Liberal Democrat campaigner Carol Caruana, who was keen to update the London Assembly on the impact of the extension on local shops and market stallholders.
After the visit Caroline commented:
“For a long time I have been aware of the harmful effects of the congestion charge extension, however there is no substitute for seeing first hand the harmful impact it is having. Trader after trader told me how they lost business since the congestion charge was extended. The congestion charge extension could not end sooner for businesses in this area.
“One of the key reasons why the Liberal Democrats have always opposed the western extension is that we believed that it would seriously affect the Portobello Market, an area of unique significance to people in west London. In many respects it is very depressing to see predictions that we made come true. I am tabling a question to the mayor of London, pressing him once again to scrap the charge quickly and urgently, before more businesses go under.”
Commenting on the decision to scrap the western extension of the congestion charge Caroline Pidgeon said:
“While welcoming the announcement I think it is vital that every step is taken to ensure that the extension is scrapped as soon as possible. Transport for London have said it will be 2010 at the earliest before it is finally scrapped – for many businesses this is a delay they simply cannot afford.”